07/27/13 — He's in 'The Show' -- Fremont's Wooten makes MLB debut in Colorado

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He's in 'The Show' -- Fremont's Wooten makes MLB debut in Colorado

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 27, 2013 11:06 PM


DENVER -- Welcome to the Big Show, Rob Wooten.

The Fremont native made his Major League debut on the mound and at the plate during Milwaukee's 8-3 loss to Colorado at Coors Field on Friday evening.

Wooten tossed 2 1/3 innings of one-strikeout, scoreless relief less than 24 hours after receiving the news of his promotion from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday.

"As great as yesterday was, today was that much better," Wooten tweeted to family and friends after the game. "Something I'll never forget. Words can't describe that feeling."

Wooten replaced starter Wily Peralta in the fourth inning. The right-hander faced 10 batters and threw 22 strikes in a 28-pitch outing. The Rockies hit into three groundouts and three flyouts, and struck out once.

Colorado pummeled Peralta for eight runs (five earned) on seven hits. However, Wooten and bullpen mate Burke Badenhop held Colorado hitless in the final 4 1/3 innings of the game.

Wooten made his lone plate appearance in the fifth.

The Brewers cleared room for the right-handed Wooten by optioning first baseman Sean Holton back to Nashville. A Charles B. Aycock alum, Wooten is the ninth player in the Brewers' minor-league system to appear on the MLB stage this season.

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke called upon the 27-year-old Wooten because of his tenacity against hitters. The hurler's strength has always been his ability to pound the strike zone and let his defense do the work behind him.

The night before Roenicke made his final decision, Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron said he texted Wooten and told him there was a chance he might get "the call."

"It's awesome ... well-deserved," Narron said Saturday. "His name kept coming up in the conversation. I've been pulling for him and pushing for him for a couple of years with as much hard work as he has put in.

"He's been doing really well in Triple-A as their closer and pitching in pressure situations for them. We really needed some help in our bullpen. He's a very logical choice."

Narron said Wooten showed no signs of nervousness against the Rockies in their hitter-friendly park. Todd Helton reached base on a flare single, but Wooten never wavered and pounded the strike zone with his cutter and split-finger breaking pitch.

The true test will be Wooten's mastery of his fastball. If he keeps command and movement, and locates the pitch well, Narron anticipates Wooten will retire a lot of batters.

"He was very composed," Narron said. "It was great start for him to come in last night and do well. That makes a difference when you come into the Major Leagues. If he pitches well, he has a chance to stay (and) I hope he stays up here for a long, long time."

A 13th-round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2008, Wooten fashioned a 2.94 earned run average and logged 20 saves as Nashville's closer this season. He was selected to pitch in the Pacific Coast League All-Star game less than two weeks ago.